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72-year-old woman killed in Bronx motorcycle crash remembered as ‘backbone’ of her family


A 72-year-old woman who died this week when a motorcyclist struck her at a Bronx crosswalk was remembered Thursday as the “backbone” of her family.

Shirley Smith was crossing Pelham Parkway North at Williamsbridge Road in Allerton Wednesday when a 46-year-old man riding a purple 2006 Yamaha motorcycle crashed into her in the crosswalk around 4:30 p.m., police said.

Both Smith and the motorcyclist were thrown to the pavement, and debris from the crash struck a 17-year-old girl who was walking on the nearby sidewalk.

All three were rushed to nearby Jacobi Medical Center, where Smith died. The teenager and the driver were listed in stable condition.

On Thursday, Smith’s nieces mourned the woman at a family member’s apartment in the Bronx.

“She was a caring, loving human being,” said niece Barbara Smith. “She was always willing to do anything for anyone who needed it.”

The victim had many nieces and nephews, whom she loved as if they were her own children.

“She never had any children of her own, but her nieces and nephews were her children,” said Barbara Smith. “Her family of hers was everything to her. It is a terrible loss for our family.”

Shirley Smith was a retired banker and lived in Manhattan.

“She was the backbone of our family,” said another niece, Denise Smith. “Everyone depended on her. She was there for each one of us. We’re still trying to figure out what we’re going to do.”

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The victim had lived in her East Harlem apartment since the building opened in 1998.

“She was living a very healthy and active life just like us and the sadness is that it could have been any of us,” said neighbor Karrolyn Belkis. “The sadness that she brings to her because when we lose someone in the building and we’ve known them since we’ve been here, it’s like family.”

Belkis, who is in her nineties, saw the news coverage of Smith’s death before learning that the victim was her beloved neighbor.

“One of the things that is a problem here is pedestrians getting hit and killed,” Belkis said. “And you’re like, ‘Oh my gosh, another one.'”

Belkis told the Daily News that the tight-knit community in the building is already raising money for whatever expenses Smith’s family will face after his death.

“Everyone joins whoever needs it,” he said. “Certainly the building will be mourning that and even more so the way she died.”

The motorcyclist did not immediately face charges as police continued to investigate the accident. There were no signs that he was driving while intoxicated, police said Thursday.

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